Sustainable Living is More Than Keeping Breathing!

This past weekend, from Thursday through Sunday, in my capacity as current President of the venerable Durban and Coast Horticultural Society (Est 1903!), I was much occupied with our stand at Durban’s annual Sustainable Living Exhibition. A painful back meant I had to cast the burden on my Vice-President as well as Board and other members rather a lot, but they rose magnificently to the challenge.

Sundry media warnings to stay indoors to avoid severe tropical storm weather did not help attendance much, but it was pretty good in the circumstances. Busload after busload of schoolchildren ignored the warnings and came in on the Saturday.

I’ll let some pictures speak for themselves:

Preparing for the official opening.

The DCHS stand with various exhibits and demonstrations.

Some extra drainpipe water harvesters I made for demonstration.

The subject of one of our demonstrations/talks.

A practical demonstration was also given in support of this poster.

Owler Talepiece:


© September 2017 Colonialist
Posted in Africa, Cartoon inventions, Gardens | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Not flatulence or a wee spot of damp.

Water Pity (Wordle 317)

We turn the tap but we forget
Where sucks the pipe to get the wet,

And, as we swing in shower spray,
What treatments keep the plague away;
Imagine tub, no word of taps,
No thump of geyser pipe, perhaps,
No shower or bath to keep us spry
Save water lest we all run dry!

A deluge last night filled my depleted pool again, using the famous 2L mineral bottle (still the original from February last year which has provided the sole source of supply since that time). The accompanying wind also blew trees down in the neighbourhood, broke another bit of barge board in our cottage, ripped a section of gutter loose, and scattered debris everywhere. Tiles were flying, and whole roofs were lost. These days every little breeze has given up seeming to whisper ‘Louise’, but is trying to imitate Irma instead.

© September 2017 Colonialist



Posted in Africa, Nature, Really Awful Rhyme, Wordle | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Toad-tally croaky duet at a hop to celebrate spring

We certainly have signs of spring sh0wing.  Brunfelsia is starting its Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow act which will probably stretch to Last Month, This Month, and the Month After.WP_20170912_15_04_57_Pro


While some of the indigenous plants are determined not to be outdone.

Then we have some of the toad-till population doing some singing to sweethearts round our pond at night.  I sneaked up on this one and got him in a flash!

This toad was one of those making up the croaky chorus to spring, but they all declined to sing on camera.

This is the sound on the YouTube below, from inside the house. The video is black because if the flash is on they keep silent. Strangely enough, although the sound may seem deafening at first,  it can become quite soporific.

Owlingly funny talepiece

September 2017 Colonialist
Posted in Africa, Gardens, Nature, Really Awful Joke | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

A Guide Dog for the Non-blind

Coastline near Knysna Heads

My guide, giving a recital.

Hidden Fishermen’s Path Through Steep Forest to Beach


Sweep of horizon, from shelter of bushes emerge,

Ground levels out, sight will wake to the power of sea

No map will show where it funnels to push with a surge,

Spinning in vortex up beach where path ceases to be.


As the title reveals, Wordle 316 has brought to my mind the secret paths on the Knysna Heads coastline where those in the know — or with a highly intelligent dog to lead them, as in my case  — could find their way down the heavily wooded slopes to rugged beaches with their  spectacular rock formations and crashing waves.

© September 2016 Colonialist
Posted in Africa, Beach, Challenge, Dogs, Ocean, Wordle | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Waiting for the Waitress

The photo theme of Waiting is really appropriate in my case; I have kept everyone waiting for another post for over a week. This is unusual for me: I generally manage to fit some blogging in somewhere even when travelling. The thing is, though, that I have committed to reformatting eight of my novels for prints/reprints, and this added to normal chores does not leave a lot of time. Today I chose give precedence to taking grandkids to the beach after school — on the only weekday without scheduled swimming they still want an amusement involving water!  Only R actually swam, though. J and I got splashed and swooshed at by some enormous waves at the tidal pool.

Here I have a group waiting for a train — to leave again! — from a recent adventure.

Back to the cat feeding scheme for another picture. Here is the home of the customers, and an early diner waiting to be fed. The waitress (plus two trainees) is in close attendance. (Do not suggest to me that the proper term is ‘waitron’ or I might turn violent. This is a gender denialist fad with no justification in accuracy, sense, or benefit to feminism.)M is thriving, by the way, and is as adorably attentive as ever, particularly when waiting to be fed one of her couple-of-dozen meals a day.

Owlingly funny talepiece.

© September 2017 Colonialist
Posted in Beach, Birds, Books, Cats, Grandchildren, Ocean, Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Lagomorpha Leporidae!

Lagomorpha Leporidae!
That I say this you wonder why?
It’s keeping up my usual habits
Of, on the first, declaring ‘Rabbits’!

The only true bunny is really distinct,
But poor Bunolagus is almost extinct;
The area these rabbits best thrived and grew
Was riverine half-desert, in the Karoo.

For the current Photo Challenge of Structure

I am turning to this Structure of Learning where I did my last of many years of Spring Walk Stair Duty. The route of the traditional parade of spring hats goes via some stairs where it has been my annual responsibility to ensure that none of the little darlings go down head first. This year the hats had to be left inside because a nasty gale was blowing.

Here is young J doing one of her circuits:

And finally, with the elaborate structure of her hat.

And my Owlingly Funny Talepiece from Rufus the Owl, featured in Tabika:

© Colonialist September 2017


Posted in Africa, Grandchildren, Humorous rhyme, Photography, Really Awful Rhyme, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Did the Eagle Ever Land?

The trouble with school-going kids is that they have homework, and sometimes that can prove a serious distraction to parents or grandparents. Take this simple project of Rs dealing with the history of space exploration: 

After duly admiring it, I wondered idly if they had resolved all the Conspiracy Theories claiming that the Moon Landing had never taken place. I looked it up. What a minefield! Any number of these theories leap eagerly out at one from the Internet. There are those going way-back-when. There are those right up to a few months ago. All have apparently compelling evidence for and against. Some deal in cold scientific facts like the danger of serious radiation from passing through the Van Allen belts, and proof that space-suits are not radiation-proofed. Some do deal in these, but then also add various wild scenarios of alien intervention and control. Counterweighing some of the more imaginative fantasies in this area are a number of remarkably facile, incomplete and unconvincing arguments offered by the Yes, we have landed on the Moon brigade to counter some of the accusations, thus harming their own cause.

Ultimately, I tuned into this:

People may sneer at Wiki, but actually it is a fine source of quick reference and the constant peer evaluation and insistence on quoted sources and references mean that it has a pretty good standard of accuracy. This is why I not only use it regularly, but also contribute towards funding, writing and editing it.

Taken together with other links it provides, the article proved the most comprehensive of all arguments or videos I came across, and left a fairly comfortable conclusion that the landings did, indeed, take place. I suppose, given the scale of NASAs budget, it is feasible that all the outside corroboration could have been bought or cooked, but it seems highly unlikely. Yet the controversy rages on

At least it is a bit better than the Climate Change dispute where the more one researches the more confused one gets. If you think that one is straightforward, then you simply havent come across all the arguments and counter-arguments, or the downright distortion of data, misrepresentation and lying on both sides of the question that clearly appear to be in evidence.

Owlingly Funny Talepiece (featuring Rufus from Tabika)

© August 2017 Colonialist
Posted in Grandchildren, History | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments